Life After Sinus Surgery

Recovery from sinus surgery depends on your health and which procedure you have. However, in general, most people need to be away from work or school for several days. You may need several weeks to heal completely. Your doctor will give you specific advice on your estimated recovery time and instructions on how best to care for yourself to help speed recovery.

After Surgery

An ethmoidectomy, a maxillary antrostomy, and a powered septoplasty with turbinoplasty are different procedures, but what happens following surgery is similar.

It can take several weeks for you to fully recover. You’ll have some swelling and tenderness inside your nose after the surgery, but this is normal. You may have symptoms like a severe cold or a sinus infection. This is due to swelling, dry blood, mucus, and crusting in your nose. To help your nose and sinuses recover, your doctor may recommend nasal irrigation or saline sprays and antibiotic lubricants.

After surgery, it’s important to take good care of your nose and sinuses to let them heal properly and prevent or minimise scars. Suggestions include:

  • Keep your head elevated to help reduce bleeding and swelling after your operation. The first night after surgery, elevate your head with extra pillows or sleep in a recliner.
  • If you have packing material and splints in your nose, make sure they stay in place. If the packing gets clogged, breathe through your mouth. Do not remove the packing or splints.
  • Some bleeding is normal for 2 to 3 days after your operation. If you think you are bleeding excessively, contact your doctor.
  • Don’t blow your nose for at least a week after surgery. Don’t do any heavy lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise. This increases the likelihood of bleeding in your nose.
  • If you have to sneeze, try doing it with your mouth open.

Depending on your surgery, you’ll likely be asked to return for a follow-up visit about 3 to 7 days after your operation. During that visit, your doctor will remove any packing, make sure that your surgery site is healing according to plan, and give you further instructions on caring for your nose and sinuses.

Daily Living

Once your nose and sinuses finish healing, you should be able to resume your normal activity level. Your sinusitis symptoms should improve and you may experience fewer sinus infections in the future. The results of surgery are never guaranteed, however. It’s possible that you may still need some kind of medical therapy to manage your symptoms after surgery. Your doctor will be able to advise you on your condition following surgery.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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